Olivier Season
March 30, 2010

For three weeks, the P4 Lyon stopped all other manipulations. This maximum security laboratory – there is only in France and twenty in the world – is currently focusing on experience in high-risk attempts to cross between the new virus and the H1N1 avian influenza, the H5N1. The first spread far and few kills, the second low spreads and kills many. Hybridization of the two would be disastrous.

“We try to understand, by infecting a cell with these two viruses, which are the genetic determinants that allow them to exchange genes (especially in pigs Ed)” summarizes the virologist Bruno Lina, who heads the work on influenza A for this laboratory Inserm. Three biologists of his team have been seconded to perform these tests determined and endorsed at ministerial level. Provided with special passports, they are assisted by a half-dozen technicians attached to the site. “All operations are diving and are subject to very restrictive regulations” provides Lina.

If experience is linked to the National Reference Center for influenza virus, that it manages, its purpose would, in his opinion, not lead to a vaccine, but just “cognitive”: “Why make a vaccine against a virus that does not exist? Or not. The first results will fall within two months and decide the action to the operation budget (provisional) 200 000. For now, “we made some tests, but obtained only very preliminary results,” continues the virologist. If it is too early to deduce anything about the likelihood of the emergence of such a viral monster, “today, the risk seems low,” says he. He concluded: “This is good news.”

H1N1: Meanwhile in the second wave

If the media seem to currently be done with influenza A, this is probably not true of our bodies. “It is a certainty, There will be a new epidemic wave,” said Bruno Lina, head of the National Reference Center for influenza virus. “Whether the H1N1 virus becomes a seasonal virus and the epidemic will have a moderate impact, or it triggers a second wave next winter,” he continues. Second wave that could have a greater impact, as was the case during the winter influenza epidemics of 1957 (H2N2) and 1968 (H3N2): “It was during the second wave, in winter 58 and winter 69 that there were more deaths, “said virologist. Even “if nothing is logical with the flu, we must still keep this in mind.” Without being alarmist, the researcher also keeps an eye on the avian H5N1 virus (287 deaths from 486 cases in the world), says he, “seems a little back hair of the beast.” As evidenced by the five new cases reported in Egypt.

OS – The filoviruses Ebola and Marburg – The type of arenavirus 4: Lassa virus of African origin and arenaviruses from South America. – The virus haemorrhagic fever Crimean Congo – The smallpox virus – The Henipavirus Nipah and Hendra viruses – Influenza A viruses of H5N1 origin

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